Tengo translado...Nooooooooo! Once again I've grown too attached to this area. I've been here for the past 4 and half transfers and I can't even begin to describe the change I've seen this area go through. Lets just say when I came in, the area had a record of nearly 0 investigators at church for two transfers. That record continued until January, and then just yesterday we had three investigators come to church...and one of them (Jose) is super solid.
It was probably one of the best Sundays of my mission. The branch was very impressed as well, they all seemed to be a lot more happier and willing to participate in the classes. Hopefully, yesterday helped provide an increase in testimony for the members. Elder Pierce and I analyzed what we did different this week that really helped investigators come to church, and the answer we came up with was that we were relentlessly following up with people. Following is so key when you are in a leadership position. People are imperfect, and area always getting distracted. Good leaders need to gently remind and recommit people to invitations. Elder Pierce and I were joking around a little about this would apply to after the mission and we joked about how we'll have to follow up every other day with our future fiances after we commit to marriage. Probably not, but I think we should always be renewing our commitments that we make every so often. Kind of like how we need to take the Sacrament every, it's kind of like the Lord following with the commitments we made at baptism.
This past week has been incredible. We committed Jose to baptism. He'd been holding out on us for the past few weeks, but we finally explained to him the purpose of the Sacrament and how after we are baptized we continue to grow and repent, he seemed a little more relaxed and committed to the 18 of May. We'll se what happens, he might move to Housten.
So this next transfer I am headed to Clinton, OK. It's a rural city about 40 minutes outside of OKC. It'll be an English speaking area. However, its a bit of a wierd situation. I'll be in a trio with an English companion (Elder Beuss I think is his name) and then we will both be training a new missionary in Spanish. This new missionary will be a temporary missionary because he is waiting on a visa to go to Argentina where he was originally called. I'm excited. Mostly, I'm excited for a change of scenery. I hope I get to see some lightening storms more in the rural areas, they've got to look a lot cooler.
Ok, fun experience last night. We had about 30 minutes left in the day til we had to return to our apartments. We had planned to visit a potential investigator and so we thought it wise to follow-through with our plans. We pulled up to this house only to see a few Hispanic people outside blasting loud mariachi music. At first, we felt a little scared or doubtful. I've learned that when these feelings enter your mind you need to just grit your teeth and do it. Because God did not give us the spirit of fear but of faith and power. So we boldly approached the house. A few hispanics, happily greeted us and we started a conversation. We met a guy named Cruz who was drinking bottled water. He was solid. The other men were all holding glass bottles of beer and were all a little tipsy.
They even offered us a beer. Especially this one man named Omar. He was very happy to see us, but he was very out of it and kept trying to give us a beer while we had to keep saying over and over "No tomamos!" It was fun. I don't think I've ever been offered a beer before my whole life, let alone have someone try to shove one in my hand. It felt good to stick to my standards and boldly tell them "No tomamos, es mal por su cuerpo. Uds, no deben tomar tambien." We'd tell them kindly that they shouldn't drink and they'd all chuckle in agreement. It was a fun experience.
Throughout it all, even though it was a hostile venue, we were able to maintain our image as missionaries and I think that made an impression on them. Omar specifically told us to come back when he was less berracho. We got information for a few other potentials as well. Overall, it was a very fun experience. As long as you have the Spirit and have a strong sense of your purpose you don't have to fear.
I think that's it for this week. I'm excited to train again this next transfer. Apparently there's a lot of Spanish speakers in Clinton as well, maybe we can get something started who knows?
This past week I've especially gained a very strong testimony that the Doctrine of Christ is what propels us to change our nature. As I've applied the DoC to myself, I've seen change take place. I also know that change does not happen very quickly. Just because it doesn't happen quickly doesn't mean that change isn't happening. You've got to stay strong and diligent. I used to not be able to speak or understand spanish very well, but after a year of practice, I've seen a change.
The area I'm leaving was considered to be a slow area...now it's starting to pick up. All because of applied faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, holy ghost and endurance to the end, the Lord is able to work miracles.
And if it works for a simple proselyting area, it'll work for every situation no matter how small, or silly it may seem. Counsel with the Lord in everything you do. Pray earnestly. Always seek for improvement. If we don't seek improvement, improvement won't happen.
I love you all, and I hope everything is well at home.